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Kudzu, 7/27/04

Kudzu is a good example of why I read all the comics every day. 95 times out of a 100, I find it preachy, smug, reactionary, and generally annoying. The strips where Ida Mae serves as a liberal strawperson to pick on infuriate me; the strips were the Preacher Will B. Dunn reads from a “modern translation” of the Bible are just lazy.

But then you get to stuff like today’s strip. In today’s American religious climate — where most people don’t go to church, and the fastest growing churches are large “nondenominational” generic Protestant churches — where else but in Kudzu can you find jokes about the different religious sensibilities of Baptists and Episcopalians? Where else can you pick on the quirks of the Methodists? The church league baseball/basketball/bowling/whatever installments are even better. I keeping waiting for a “one hand clapping” joke about the crowd whenever Preacher Dunn’s team plays the Zen Buddhists, though it never comes. These strips almost make up for the awful ones where the preacher’s parakeet comments on reality television. Almost.

As a side note, I think the title of this strip is a good example of comic semantic drift. When I first started reading it, I thought it was just a sort of nonsense word title, or maybe a reference to the strip’s overgrown Southern locale. It was only about a year later that I realized that there actually was a character in the strip named Kudzu. Kudzu is an everyman character who was probably intended to be the viewpoint character early in the strip’s history. Presumably the artist quickly realized that, like most everyman characters, he was boring beyond belief.